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On November 22, the New York Times ran an op-ed by the radical leftist lesbian Jewish playwright Sarah Schulman which did a great public service – it provided a perfect illustration of the utter lunacy of the anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian queer left.
Schulman opened her piece, entitled “Israel and ‘Pinkwashing,’” by quoting a line from William Butler Yeats (a writer who, incidentally, would have found both her work and her politics utterly vile). The line, also the title of a famous short story by Delmore Schwartz, was this: “In dreams begin responsibilities.” Schulman maintained that Yeats’s words “resonate with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who have witnessed dramatic shifts in our relationship to power.” She meant by this that while gay people have won rights and respect in various countries around the world, “these changes have given rise to a nefarious phenomenon: the co-opting of white gay people by anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim political forces in Western Europe and Israel.”
Schulman went on to express her revulsion at the enthusiasm of some Dutch gays for the late Pim Fortuyn and for the very much alive Geert Wilders, and at the fact that the English Defense League has over a hundred gay members. She also took me on: “In Norway,” she wrote, “Anders Behring Breivik, the extremist who massacred 77 people in July, cited Bruce Bawer, a gay American writer critical of Muslim immigration, as an influence.” (In fact, Breivik made it clear in his writings that I was not an influence on him – he considered me too much of a libertarian. But no matter.)
The “depictions of immigrants” by people like me and Wilders “as ‘homophobic fanatics,’” wrote Schulman, “opportunistically ignore the existence of Muslim gays and their allies within their communities.” On the contrary, I and many other anti-jihadists have written extensively about gay Muslims. What Schulman “opportunistically ignores” is that gay Muslims in Western Europe tend to live in terror of being found out by their families and communities. Their very lives are at risk. So dire is their plight that until recently there was not a single “out” gay Muslim in all of Norway, where I live. I am now personally acquainted with the country’s first openly gay male Muslim and its first openly lesbian Muslim, and I can inform Schulman that their lives have been made exceedingly difficult by the Muslim communities that Schulman is so eager to defend.
To depict Muslims as antigay, Schulman further maintained, is to “render invisible the role that fundamentalist Christians, the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Jews play in perpetuating fear and even hatred of gays.” Yes, there’s hostility to gay people all over the place. The difference is that even the most famously gay-hating Christian on the planet, Fred “God Hates Fags” Phelps, doesn’t call for the murder of gay people and, as far as I know, has not killed any gays himself. By contrast, sharia law prescribes the death penalty for homosexuality – a punishment that has been carried out innumerable times by the governments of several Islamic countries as well as by countless Muslim families both in the Muslim world and in the West.
But does Schulman care about that? Apparently not. She is the kind of leftist for whom ideology will always trump reality. What she is exercised about is the fact that Israel is, according to her, marketing itself as gay-friendly: Tel Aviv’s tourism board, for example, is spending about $90 million “to brand the city as ‘an international gay vacation destination.’” Also, Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.S. Congress in May “that the Middle East was ‘a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted.’”
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